OUR STORY - Bridgetown Winery

pruning vine

Lyn and Margaret Metcalf purchased the property as a paddock in 1996. It was initially acquired to build a holiday home and they, together with friends and relatives, built a house in 1999. The house was designed to take advantage of the aspect overlooking the Blackwood River which runs along about 500 metres of the northern boundary. It is supplied with underground power from the roadside pole and water was provided initially from a 90,000 litre water tank collecting water from the roof of the house. Later a garage/workshop was built and water collected from the roof into a second 90,000 litre tank. The two water tanks are connected.

grafting new variety

The property has an area just over 14 acres and Lyn and Margaret considered options to make use of the larger area. They settled on growing wine grapes for sale to wine producers. The initial planting in 2003 was 1,208 Shiraz vines grown on Swartzmann rootstock to minimise the susceptability to soil related pests.

grape harvest

In order to gain an insight into managing vines and making wine, Lyn undertook, on a part time basis, a BSc (Viticulture & Oenology) at Curtin University, commencing in 2000 at the Perth Campus and completing the degree in 2013 at the Margaret River campus. His regret is that he has never undertaken vintages in other wineries, particularly old world wineries.

the original winery

The vine rows are spaced at 3 metres and the vines are 2 metres apart. The cordon wire is at 1.2 metres and the trellis structure is for vertical shoot positioning with 2 sets of movable wires on 2 metre high pine log posts. Posts are generally 8 metres apart with 4 vines to each panel. The vineyard was originally planted in 2003 with 1,208 Vitis vinifera vines (Shiraz variety) on hybrid rootstock of V. riparia crossed with V. rupestris (Schwarzmann).

the new winery

In late 2016 120 vines were grafted across to Muscat a petit grains (brown muscat). The first wine from these grapes was produced in 2017. In late 2017 181 vines were grafted to Barbera and another 183 vines grafted to Tempranillo. They will produce a first vintage in 2019 with an expected release date of 2020/21. In late 2018 122 vines were grafted over to Durif and the first small vintage is expected in 2020.

French oak barrels

In summary, 50% of the vineyard remains as Shiraz, 10% is Muscat a petit grains, 15% is Barbara, 15% is Tempranillo and 10% is Durif.

The initial intent to grow grapes for sale to wineries was not a sucessful strategy due to the glut of grapes at the time and the small tonnage of grapes offerred for sale. The strategy changed to producing a very small volume of premium wines each year.

The branding of the tabe wines as 'Pump Shed' came from the original winery shed which doubled as a shed for the irrigation gear. In 2014 the current winery shed was constructed but the fermentation of grapes is still carried out in the pump shed.

The fortiied red liqueurs (ports) are branded as 'Blackwood River' as the winery is on the banks of the Blackwood River.